What: Take Care
Why: 4 Cigs
Label: Young Money/Cash Money Records | Producers: Noah “40″ Shebib, Drake, Just Blaze, Boi-1da, Jamie xx, T-Minus, Chase N. Cashe, The Weeknd, Illangelo, Doc McKinney, Supa Dups, Chantal Kreviazuk
The Good: Simply put, Take Care is a blockbuster success in sheer scope. When you fit one of the year’s best R&B songs (“Marvin’s Room”) on an album that also boasts arguably the most titanic rap record of 2011 (“Lord Knows”), you exhibit the work of an artist that has the determination and capacity to pull off both tracks — as well as most of the other variations of pop-rap&b that are packed in between. Drake and his production team (led again by studio guru Noah “40″ Shebib) prove equally deft at crafting blare-it-out-your-speakers rap anthems (“Underground Kings”) and stripped-down R&B ballads (“Doing it Wrong”).
The Bad: Take Care is an ambitious album, but with ambition often comes overreaching. At 18 tracks, clocking in just under 80 minutes, Take Care is a bloated affair. Tracks like “We’ll Be Fine” and “Make Me Proud” — not altogether terrible but ultimately inessential records — could have easily been left on the cutting-room floor. Their inclusion makes front-to-back listens difficult in a single sitting.
The Lovely: It’s no wonder Drake named the album Take Care. He remains one of the few rap stars who takes pride in paying attention to the art of album-making. If not as catchy or compulsively listenable as Thank Me Later, Take Care is a mature and nearly fully-realized expression of an artist firmly planted in his artistic zone. Drake’s Hip-Hop remains quite often very melodic and moody. When he promises on “The Ride” that his “Junior and Senior will only get meaner,” you believe him. — Samir S.